Freelance employment agreements

Written by bibiana da silva
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Freelance employment agreements
Freelance employment agreements protect both parties. (contract 20309 image by pablo from

A freelance employment agreement protects both the client and the freelancer involved in a contracted project. It is a written document outlining what each party expects from the other over the course of the project and is signed by both parties. This prevents either party from making new demands of the other in the middle of the project. Though such an agreement isn't necessary, the benefits it provides make it worthwhile for everyone involved.


An employment agreement should describe what it is that the client will pay the freelancer to do. The agreement should make clear who will own the rights to the work when it's finished. It should describe how long the project will take and a deadline for completion. The freelancer and client might want to agree upon several due dates over the duration of the project, so that the freelancer doesn't waste time doing work that the client won't like and the client doesn't waste time waiting for something she doesn't want. Both parties should agree whether payment will occur at the start of the project, at each milestone or when the project is due.

Freelancer Protection

A person who performs work with the expectation of payment has reason to be upset if a client refuses to pay him for any reason. In this case, the freelancer who produces an employment agreement signed by himself and the client can take legal action against the client for nonpayment. The agreement also will support copyright infringement claims by the freelancer whose work is used in ways that are forbidden or not explicitly permitted.

Client Protection

The employment agreement benefits the client as well. If a client pays up front for work and the freelancer doesn't deliver, she has written proof of what was expected. If the work is provided later than the due date she agreed upon with the freelancer, she can escape legal action for nonpayment on the basis that the work order was not fulfilled. She also can provide proof, if necessary, that she's innocent of copyright infringement if the agreement states that the freelancer forfeits rights to his work.

Where to Obtain

A lawyer is a reasonable place to start when looking for someone to write a freelance employment agreement. As legal professionals, lawyers are more adept than the average person at analysing the terms of such an agreement. The lawyer can produce an agreement full of loopholes and ambiguities that satisfies both parties. However, since lawyer fees can be costly, the freelancer and the client might want to write an agreement themselves that includes all the vital content.


It's important to remember that the freelancer is not an employee. By definition, a freelancer is a self-employed individual who sells his services to clients at will. He is only bound by the terms upon which he and the client agreed at the beginning of a project. This means that, despite the fact that the freelancer is providing work to the client, neither should expect the same work obligations that exist between an employer and an employee unless such is stated in their agreement.

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